This is the part where I tell a tale of epic hardship and how, through the principles I’m espousing, my life turned around and I’m now living happily ever after and have started a crusade to share my path with others. Yup. Um. I got nothing.
Truth to tell my life has been privileged. I grew up in a safe neighborhood, had two siblings to play and argue with, my dad was the breadwinner with a steady job, and my mom stayed home while we were younger. It was expected that us kids would go to college and become contributing members of society, at which we’ve mostly succeeded.
That’s not to say I haven’t experienced hardship, because I have, or loss, I’ve been there too. But I have knowledge holes on both ends of the societal and monetary spectrum. What I do have to offer comes not from a glorious life turn-around, but rather a series of quiet events.
There are depressing quiet events. The consultant who accepts answers from a male co-worker but not me… even though we used the exact same wording. The boyfriend who feels emasculated that I earn more money than he does. The martial arts training partner who refuses to hit a girl.
There are uplifting quiet events. The co-workers who have always judged me by my merit rather than gender. The couple who has successfully traded primary parenting responsibilities every couple of years. My husband who has no problem acknowledging me as an equal in martial arts skill.
Mostly I find the depressing events are based in fear and expectations and the uplifting ones are based in respect and a certain willingness to throw societal expectations out the window. What are these societal expectations that define an event or get thrown out? In current society, I see men who are struggling with an old set of expectations on how to act and be a productive member of society. I see women who are not sure how to achieve gender equality, partially because they all have a different idea of what that looks like. One thing I see missing in these and other instances is an understanding that HAVING a choice is more important than the actual choice a person makes.
I want to spread that opportunity to choose, because the more people who have a choice the less there is to fear in what others choose. I want to challenge the status quo of societal expectations, adjust them until the only expectations are ones based in knowledge of the person. I want to be a vehicle of change, but I cannot do this alone, because alone I am just another person throwing societal expectations out the window.
So, who am I to speak? I am simply a voice.
The more important question is: Will you listen, evaluate, debate, and discuss what you hear?